NatureVest is the conservation investing unit of The Nature Conservancy. NatureVest’s mission is to create and execute investable deals in a wide variety of sectors around the world that deliver conservation results and financial returns for investors. Their vision is based on the conviction that capital markets, businesses and governments must invest in nature as the long-term capital stock of a sustainable, equitable and more efficient economy.
To achieve this, they source and structure investments that support the Conservancy’s mission, raise capital from investors looking to generate both financial returns and conservation outcomes, and share their experience with the investment and conservation communities to accelerate the growth of the conservation investing marketplace.
How They Got Started
The Nature Conservancy continues to be at the forefront of achieving lasting conservation outcomes. Throughout its history, the Conservancy has achieved results through innovative transaction-based structures, such as fishing quota acquisition, debt restructuring, water funds, New Markets Tax Credits and others.
As the impact investing market began to take shape and grow, the Conservancy saw an opportunity to leverage private capital for conservation. With support from the Robertson Foundation in 2010, the Conservancy launched its impact capital strategy and created a deal team charged with developing investable conservation deals in North America.
In 2012, the Conservancy launched three additional efforts to advance impact investing for conservation.
With subsequent funding from the Robertson Foundation, the Conservancy launched Conservation Note—the organization’s first broad investment offering, providing all types of investors with a way to support conservation through investment. The response from investors was swift and positive, and the Note was fully subscribed within a year.
The Conservancy also founded NatLab with its partners Nature Resources Defense Council and Encourage Capital (formerly EKO Asset Management). NatLab received funding from The Rockefeller Foundation to work with the City of Philadelphia on a private investment vehicle for funding green infrastructure. Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, and Margot Brandenburg highlighted the Notes and the NatLab’s green infrastructure work in their definitive introduction to the field of impact investing, The Power of Impact Investing.
And, with support from the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, the Conservancy created an international deal team focused on sourcing deals from around the world, including forest carbon finance, mitigation and debt restructuring for climate adaptation.
In 2014, with founding sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Conservancy formed NatureVest, a dedicated and more comprehensive conservation finance platform. This allowed us to bring the two deal teams together and to leverage the combined expertise, scope and scale of both teams and of JPMorgan Chase & Co. NatureVest’s founding also enabled us to add additional expertise to build thought leadership for the growing conservation investing space.
They plan to source and put to work at least $1 billion of investment capital for measurable conservation outcomes in the next three years. In order to achieve this goal, NatureVest does three things:
Their team members work with their colleagues in The Nature Conservancy’s operating units, as well as with conservation collaborators around the world, to source and structure investment products that support the Conservancy’s mission.
They engage impact investors to source impact capital in effective, scalable ways—using the Conservancy’s deep insights in science, policy and practice and its relationships with the capital markets, businesses and government.
They share their knowledge and experience broadly to build a stronger community of support for investing in nature.
Providing a Platform for Conservation Investment
NatureVest creates and transacts investable deals that deliver conservation results and financial returns for investors in a wide variety of geographies and sectors around the world. We source and execute conservation projects, or deals, that engage the participation of a range of investors and generate a consistent source of capital to ensure the completion of these projects.
Unleashing a Billion Dollars for Conservation
NatureVest is committed to maximizing the impact of the Conservancy’s global platform, regional relationships and deep expertise in science, policy and finance to create investment opportunities that enable us to meet their global conservation challenges. Their goal is to put to work at least $1 billion of impact investment capital by 2020.
Today, NatureVest aligns its work against business lines that:
- Represent conservation investment opportunities that address their most urgent conservation needs
- Capitalize most effectively on the Conservancy’s on-the-ground expertise and relationships
- Offer a robust pipeline of investable opportunities
- Appeal most directly to the current impact investor market
These five business lines are:
- Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management in Cities
- Water Markets for Conservation
- Debt Restructuring for Climate Adaptation and Marine Conservation
- Sustainable Agriculture for Habitat Conservation
- Working Landscapes